B-side of I’ve Been Cheated (promo only)
(Written by Gary Montgomery and Jack Dalton)
Whenever they’re discussed, the Dalton Boys are referred to as a white folk band, but their one and only Motown single, I’ve Been Cheated – promos of which were sent out with two different B-sides, this being one of them – saw them firmly in the R&B camp, a sort of Merseybeat-Motown hybrid sound inching towards what would later be called “blue-eyed soul”. The Motown house band, the Funk Brothers, provided the backing for the A-side, leaving the nagging feeling that the musicians were let down by both the shoddy material and the weak singing.
I don’t know who the players are on this proposed flip side (replaced with another song before any stock copies were pressed up), but everyone sounds more in their element here – at least the vocals and the music sound like they belong to the same record, which is a step forward of sorts. Unfortunately, the result is like hearing R. Dean Taylor* playing tutor to an uninterested garage band who’ve only just got a copy of Please Please Me; it’s almost totally unrelated to the A-side (which presumably explains why it was pulled back, they’re two largely incompatible records), and while it’s not completely incompetent, it’s also not very exciting, because it’s still a real mess and everyone sounds really bored.
* (Who wasn’t involved here, I was astonished to note after I heard this for the first time; it sure sounds like one of his.)
It’s not without its charm, this – I first heard it on one of the excellent A Cellarful of Motown compilations, before The Complete Motown Singles series existed, where Take My Hand was included as an example of the kind of weird curio most Motown aficionados never got to hear. It sticks out like a sore thumb in some respects (it’s even more of a blatant Merseybeat/British Invasion pastiche than the A-side, and it couldn’t be much whiter), but once again I’m left wondering what might have happened if the vocals were scrubbed off, as there’s undeniably energy here, a hum of excitement buried under the bland, shapeless harmonies and the unambitious, pedestrian air that pervades the whole thing.
Like the A-side, the intro is the strongest part, a muscular 4/4 garage workout dressed up with driving horns and jangling guitar. There are a couple of pleasing lines (the first verse opens with a fun couplet: You’re the kind of girl who likes to tease / And I’m the kind of guy who’s ill at ease). But it ends up being ruined; it becomes obvious quite fast that there aren’t enough ideas in the song to sustain it for two minutes, or even two lines, the Boys chiming in with a tuneless bellow of Take my hand / Take my hand / Take my hand, a non-hook far too weak to bear the weight of the song. And yet they keep going back to it, and it becomes tiresome even before we get to the point when the Boys decide to extend the final “hand” over a six-second melisma to take us to the hideously messy cod-Beatles breakdown of the middle eight.
They really, really seem to have liked the early work of John Lennon, even copying his vocal style in a few places, but this amateurish scribble of a song – which sounds like something someone made up on the spot – would have ended up lining Lennon’s wastepaper basket in Hamburg long before the Fabs ever got near a studio. The Dalton Boys know it, too, audibly losing enthusiasm as the song goes on and the realisation dawns that they’re not making a classic, that they’re (once again) wasting a good band track on a sloppy half-finished song; in that respect, they’re not far behind this listener. I was drumming along at the start, but after a minute or so of aimless jangling and tedious stretches meant to mask the joins between the different not-very-catchy bits that have been stitched together here, I ended up drumming my fingers on the table instead, waiting impatiently for it to finish.
Again, I wanted to like this based on the intro; again, it bores me, and I can’t see myself ever coming back to it. It’s a fifth-rate effort of a song, a jog that ends up going absolutely nowhere.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
(I’ve had MY say, now it’s your turn. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, or click the thumbs at the bottom there. Dissent is encouraged!)
You’re reading Motown Junkies, an attempt to review every Motown A- and B-side ever released. Click on the “previous” and “next” buttons below to go back and forth through the catalogue, or visit the Master Index for a full list of reviews so far.
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|The Dalton Boys
“I’ve Been Cheated”
|The Dalton Boys
“Something’s Bothering You”
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